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Blogging for Britain…well, just start with your agency first

by Paul MacKenzie-Cummins, Editor and Managing Director of ClearlyPR 

We blog pretty frequently (you may have noticed if you have ever visited the ClearlyPR website). And there is a reason for this: it helps build our online brand and it drives traffic to our website – some of which turns into new business leads and sales.

Between February and October 2014 our blogging activity averaged at around 2-3 posts per month and the total number of visitors we received during that period was averaging 583 per month and just one (yes, 1) new business enquiry – hardly impressive and not the sort of statistics that would see us grow our business (PR agencies are just as ambitious as you recruitment agencies, y’know!).

We then realised that we needed to up our game.

So we committed to doubling the number of posts we were doing each month as a minimum and continue to do so for a minimum period of six months. This would give us enough time to effectively measure and determine if what we were doing was working – did it generate increased traffic volumes and enquiries, and was the content the ‘right’ sort of content that people wanted to read?

The difference was staggering.

Fast forward to today and we currently average 2,300 unique visitors each month and three new business enquiries – all on the back of the blog content we produce and promote via social media (we don’t do Google AdWords).

The result of this is that we have won five new clients over the last six months alone – all because someone in a recruitment agency read one or two blogs on our site that they were directed to via a post on LinkedIn or Twitter.

I have spoken at the UKRecruiter Recruitment Directors Quartely Summit and Recruitment International branding workshops about how blogging can win company’s new business.

Every single company we have ever spoken to wants to have a blog on their site that is regularly updated, but too few have the time or internal resources to manage and commit to updating it. As such, their blogging activity becomes sporadic at best.

However, it’s not just time that is stopping people from managing their blogs, the lack of action is also down to the simple fact that there isn’t a compelling enough reason to do it – the reward doesn’t quite seem to be there. But it is, providing you invest the time to do it consistently as our own experience above has demonstrated.

In fact, let’s put our blogging success into a recruitment context with the following calculation:

Average salary in the UK: £26,000

Standard agency rate: 15%

Fee earned: £3,975

Based on our conversion rate of 1 new sale per month, your blog would earn your agency £3,975 in new revenue every month or £47,000 over the course of a year…not to be sniffed at!

When you spend money on advertising you can, to a degree, expect an almost immediate return – I sold advertising for over a decade before moving into PR so I know how quick the ROI can manifest itself.

So when it comes to activities such as blogging – and PR as a whole – there is a perceived time delay between the ‘action’ (i.e. writing the blog) and the ‘benefit’ received (i.e. traction/sales).

As such, despite their best intentions of creating a well-maintained blog, organisations opt instead to focus their attention on those activities that will deliver a quicker return.

Here’s an example of what I mean by this:

As energy costs and our awareness of our impact on the environment increases, organisations are looking for ways to become more sustainable and reduce their CO2 emissions.

One of the most effective ways is to encourage staff to switch off the lights as they leave the office. But no matter how aware they are of the need to save energy, some employees leave the office at the end of the day and leave the lights on.

Now if there was a sign above each light switch saying something like, Help save energy – turn off the lights when leaving, the message becomes much stronger and is more likely to drive action.

The point is this: Inaction (not turning the lights off) is when the message (help save energy) is not strong enough to stay front of mind, whereas action is most likely to happen when there is a prompt and that prompt suggests an immediate return for the action you are about to perform.

These prompts, or cues, bring to mind the specifics of our intentions (i.e. to main a blog) and remind us of the values to be gained from taking that specific course of action.

So the next time you think We haven’t the time to manage our blog effectively, you need to appreciate that failure to act now could see you leave money on the table…and recruiters are not known for turning their backs on new revenue sources!

Blogging is a pain in the arse for most people, but it works. We’ve won some of our best clients from blogging and so can you.

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